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Obama Administration Announces Plans to Nominate Woodall to FSOC

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Former Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Roy Woodall will be President Obama’s nominee for the insurance member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC).

Last week, NU Online News Service reported that the White House was believed to be conducting a background check on Woodall in anticipation of nominating him as the independent member of the FSOC with insurance expertise.

President Obama made the announcement in a statement detailing several other nominations for administration posts. President Obama says in the statement, “It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this administration to serve the American people.”

Industry members have made clear that filling the post should be a priority for the administration, and associations offered praise for the Woodall nomination.

David Sampson, president and CEO of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), says: “We are pleased that the Department of Treasury has listened to the calls from the insurance sector and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to fill this critically important position. [Woodall] brings extensive experience in the insurance sector and an understanding of the state insurance regulatory system.”

The associations all tried to differentiate property and casualty insurance from other financial-services institutions that might pose a systemic risk to the economy and therefore fall under FSOC regulatory jurisdiction.

Jimi Grande, senior vice president of federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, says: “As a former Treasury official and state insurance regulator, [Woodall] understands the role of insurance in the economy and is well aware that mutual insurance companies did not contribute to the economic crisis or pose an ongoing risk to economic stability. With this knowledge, [Woodall] will help focus the designation process for systemically important financial institutions [SIFI] on those companies who, through their participation in high-risk activities, pose a true risk to the American economy.”

Leigh Ann Pusey, president and CEO of the American Insurance Association, adds: “Woodall also has an intimate working knowledge of our industry and will be a strong voice in helping inform the other FSOC members on the distinctions between the property and casualty business model and other, bank-centric financial services. This will be especially critical as the FSOC deliberates on which non-bank financial firms it will designate as systemically important.

She continues, “AIA continues to believe the FSOC should adopt a risk-related, activities-based approach to the SIFI designation process under Dodd-Frank for non-bank financial companies, rather than reverting to size as the primary determinant.”

All of the associations praised Woodall’s insurance experience.

Woodall served as Kentucky’s insurance commissioner from 1966 to 1967. He recently retired as the senior insurance policy analyst at the Department of the Treasury, a post he held from 2002 to 2011. From 2001 to 2002, Woodall was an insurance consultant for the Congressional Research Service.

Previously, he served as president of the National Association of Life Companies (NALC), and upon NALC’s merger into the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), he served as ACLI’s managing director for issues and vice president/chief counsel for state relations.

Regarding the role the FSOC will play and the insurance expertise it will contain–should Woodall be confirmed by the Senate–PCI explains: “The FSOC is comprised of the nation’s top financial regulators and will monitor systemic risk in the financial-services sectors.

Three insurance representatives will sit on the FSOC, including: Missouri Insurance Director John Huff, representative of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, as a non-voting member; Michael McRaith, the new Federal Insurance Office director, as a non-voting member; and Woodall as a voting member.”


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